StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, gets under way next week, and I’m just about ready to immerse myself in it again. It’ll be slightly different for me this year, since I stepped down from the Board last December, but I know that lots of things will be the same – catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, because friendships mean a lot to me.
This morning I collected Morgan Downie’s first full collection – Stone and Sea – from the printers. I’m biased, but I think it contains some of the best new poetry I’ve read in years. It’s a first full collection for Calder Wood Press too, so that’s another major milestone. Levenmouth Printers told me that Juliet Wilson’s chapbook collection – Unthinkable Skies – will be ready for me to pick up next Thursday, en route to St Andrews. So it looks like the Calder Wood Press stall at the Poets’ Market will be full to overflowing. I just hope it’ll be a little less full at the end of the day – I need the money, and you need the books. Oh, yes you do!
On Thursday afternoon I’m doing a Past and Present session on Gregory Corso, a poet I ‘discovered’ in 1962, as far as I remember. His life was as colourful and dramatic as his poetry, as I hope I can demonstrate. In between the Thursday and the Sunday I’m going to a wide variety of readings by a wide range of poets. That’s part of the joy of StAnza – its range and variety.